Driver charged with three felonies in fatal wreck

By on October 6, 2011

Police have charged the driver of a car alleged to have run through a flashing red light at Colington Road and U.S. 158 with three felonies as a result of the death of one man and serious injuries to two other people Wednesday evening.

Luis Alberto Rodriguez, 44, of Colington has been charged with felony death by vehicle while engaged in the offense of impaired driving, Kill Devil Hills police said in a statement Friday.

Joseph Storie, 51, of Lenoir died from injuries in the wreck. He was a passenger in a pickup truck that rolled over in the accident.

Rodriguez has also been charged with two counts of felonious serious injury by vehicle, police said, and driving while impaired. Results from blood alcohol tests are pending.

Rodriguez was injured and is still hospitalized. The driver of the truck, 43-year-old Paul Thomas, sustained minor injuries and was treated at The Outer Banks Hospital.

Storie’s wife, 37-year-old Alicia, and sister, 45-year-old Christina, were in the back seat of the pickup. They were flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Police Capt. Gene Johnson said that none of the occupants of either vehicle appeared to have been wearing seat belts.

Storie was visiting the Outer Banks with his family.

An investigation determined that Rodriguez was travelling east on Colington Road and failed to stop for a flashing red light, police said. Rodriguez drove his Chevrolet Lumina into the intersection and was struck by the Chevrolet pickup, which was traveling south.

The traffic signal malfunctioned about two hours before the crash. Traffic on U.S. 158 had a flashing yellow signal, giving vehicles the right of way, while traffic on Colington Road and Ocean Bay Boulevard had a flashing red light.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation was notified of the malfunctioning light but had not arrived to make repairs before the crash.

The intersection was closed for three and a half hours until the scene was cleared.

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